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A few months back, my friend, Kevin, came up with the brilliant idea of melding the art of papercraft with his newfound interest in quadcopters. Naturally, being an engineer myself, I quickly fell into the rabbit-hole that is the multirotor hobby and together we began developing paper frames for our small micro-scale quads.

The basic idea went something like this: After flying the factory-built quads for a while, we began to get curious about altering the configuration -- what would longer arms do? What if we flipped some motors upside down and ran them backwards? What if we made a long and narrow quad? Short and wide? We figured that folding up some paper and gluing it together would be a great way to test these different configurations quickly and cheaply.

After some tinkering, we thought that this could actually become a great activity for kids of all ages (including distinctly adult-looking ones) -- it's inexpensive, offers endless possibilities for customization, and is incredibly fun! What's more, if the quadcopter crashes and breaks, you aren't dead in the water -- just recycle the old frame, print out a new one and you're off to the races again.

This Instructable is meant to be a getting-started guide to making paper quads. Feel free to share designs, knowhow, and let's see what comes out of it! Kevin and I have started a website dedicated to this project where we will post more PaperQuad-related content: PaperQuad.com

Notes on contests:

We've entered this Instructable into a couple of contests. If you happen to think this project is particularly awesome, We'd be very appreciative of your votes!

One of the contests I've entered this into is theEpilog Contest VII -- We are competing to win an Epilog laser printer, which we would absolutely LOVE to have. We would use it to help speed up the design of more awesome PaperQuad templates. A laser cutter would save us loads of time, eliminating the need to cut each piece out by hand. This would be huge for us!

Many thanks to all of our supporters thus far. We never imagined finding such a great group of people!

Step 1: Getting Started: What You'll Need.

Getting started making a PaperQuad is pretty easy and inexpensive. Kevin and I have developed a kit with everything you need to get started:

Click the button below to get a kit:

If you want to use your own parts, you'll need:

  • Flight controller
  • 2x clockwise motors & matching props
  • 2x counter-clockwise motors & matching props
  • Battery
  • Transmitter (remote control)
  • LEDs (optional)

    We recommend salvaging the above components from an existing toy-grade micro-quadcopter (look for 7mm or 8.5mm direct-drive motors). Brands like Hubsan, UDI, or Blade, etc. are great parts donors.

    Some tools and materials you'll need if you're planning on using your own electronics:

    • Small Phillips screwdriver
    • Soldering Iron
    • Solder
    • Small wire clippers

    Paper-related:

    • Card Stock (we use 110lb)
    • Printer capable of printing on the card stock
    • PaperQuad template (Download a basic one HERE)
    • Scissors
    • X-Acto knife
    • Toothpick
    • White craft glue
    • Double-sided foam tape
    • Clear Tape
  • Step 2: Assembly: Cutting Out the PaperQuad Template

    1. Download the basic PaperQuad template HERE
    2. Print the template out on a sheet of card stock (we use 110lb card stock, but some printers may have trouble with it, so find what works best with your printer.) Note: The pieces are arranged on the page to indicate (roughly) where they fit together.
    3. Cut out the pieces with your scissors and X-Acto knife.
    4. Score the dotted fold-lines lightly with your X-Acto blade. This will help make the folds neat and crisp. Be sure to make note of mountain vs. valley folds.

    Step 3: Assembly: Folding & Gluing the PaperQuad Template

    Once all of the pieces are cut out and scored, it's time to start folding and gluing.

    1. Place a thin bead of glue on the tabs you'll be gluing together. We recommend only gluing 2-3 tabs at a time.
    2. Spread the glue across the tab with the toothpick and remove any excess.
    3. Position the tab into the correct position and squeeze lightly to create a solid bond. If you've used the correct amount of glue, a bond should be formed almost instantly.
    4. Continue until complete!

    Sometimes you will need to use tools to ensure the pieces are bonded together well -- be sure to experiment with scissor blades, popsicle sticks, X-Acto blade handles, etc. to get into tight spots.

    Step 4: Assembly: Mounting the Electronics.

    Whether you've purchased a kit from Kitables, or you're disassembling your own quadcopter (**Note** We will not be held liable for any voided warranties or broken components if you do so), here are the basic components you'll need:

    • Flight controller (FC) This is the chip that houses all of the sensors, the microprocessor, and motor FETs (in the case of most small quadcopters). The battery, motor and LEDs all attach to this chip.
    • Motors with matching props -- 2x Clockwise, 2x Counter-clockwise
    • Battery
    • 4x LEDs (optional)

    You can find Hubsan X4 disassembly instructions HERE

    With these components:

    1. Mount the flight controller using double-sided foam tape into the cutout on the belly of the quad frame. Note that the microchips are on the top of the board. Make sure these are oriented correctly
    2. Tape the motors into the motor cradles at each corner of the frame. Be sure they are positioned correctly!
    3. Tape down the wires so that they will not be damaged by the spinning props.
    4. Secure the battery onto the belly with tape.

    Step 5: Complete!

    Once you've assembled the paper template and mounted the electronics, you should be ready to fly! Please fly your PaperQuad responsibly.

    If you have any questions, please visit the PaperQuad Page for contact info and the latest information!

    <p>That is awesome!</p>
    I'm not sure exactly what size those are but they seem like they should work fine.
    <p>If I'm not mistaken, the Proto-X uses 6mm motors which will likely be a bit under-powered for this particular quad. It's possible that we will make a smaller/lighter template for use with nano-scale quads like the Proto-X or the Cheerson CX-10 in the future. We use 7mm motors as standard on our kits, however we'll be releasing 8.5mm upgrade motors for a bit more punch soon too!</p>
    <p>Sorry for the slow reply -- I'm currently using 7mm brushless motors, but 8.5mm motors work for an extra bit of punch.</p>
    Yes, we have a bunch of new templates that we're intending to release in the near future. We also are working on making individual components available so you can mix and match parts for different flight performance. So: upgraded motors, FPV gear, etc.!
    <p>Nice build. Flight videos please</p>
    <p>Thanks! Not sure if you saw the website, but we have a couple of poor quality flight videos up. We'll have some better ones soon! </p><p>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cD7F5dmcK7U</p>
    Nice fly. Is it an IR remote?
    2.4 gHz - has maybe a 75m range
    <p>please tell about the components of remote control.please</p>
    I want to make the kit of fligjt controler. So teacj me
    You can purchase an RTF quadcopter and disassemble it.
    Don't know from where you get the required materials in India
    Please give the kit Schematic
    How much u invest this project
    How much u invest this project
    <p>I was actually expecting this to cheap considering the amount of materials used but its twice as expensive as buying a pre-assembled forgive me if i didn't get the point.</p>
    Where did you get the flight controller? Does it have a model number?
    We removed our FC from a Hubsan X4 H107C. Check out banggood.com since sometimes you can buy replacement ones by themselves. You'll need to purchase motors and the transmitter separately as well, if you go that route.
    Could this work with, say, a Stma X12 Nano?
    The X12 nano might not have enough power to lift the particular template shown. However we're planning on releasing a template for nano-scale quads, so keep an eye out!
    Thanks! Any timeframe for that?
    <p>At least a couple of weeks. If you PM me your email, I'll keep you in the loop!</p>
    Hey great idea you guys I think you should go out this up on the flite test forum the guys over there would love it
    <p>Good idea, I'll look into it!</p>
    great idea
    Amazing! After falling down the multirotor rabbit hole myself I started hanging out with a group of pilots who have indoor Hubsan X4 races- if any of them break a frame and have the insides left over I'm going to point them in this direction.
    <p>This is definitely one of those <em>why didn't I think of this?</em> concepts!</p><p>However, Kitables don't seem to have your kit listed - would you recommend kits from elsewhere?</p>
    <p>Hi the kit is up on the site here <a href="http://kitables.co/product/paperquad-diy-quadcopter/" rel="nofollow">http://kitables.co/product/paperquad-diy-quadcopte...</a></p><p>you can also get to it by clicking the get the kit button!</p>
    <p>Thanks!</p>
    <p>I just updated the instructions with a link to the Kitables page. Should work now!</p>
    <p>Cool.</p>
    This is cool. Cheers for the info!
    <p>Very cool idea!</p><p>You could make all sorts of fun and crazy flying shapes this way. I love it!</p>

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